SS Nomadic (1911)

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SS Nomadic as she appeared in 2000, docked on the Seine in Paris.
Career 60px
Name: SS Nomadic
Operator: White Star Line
Builder: Harland and Wolff
Belfast, Ireland
Laid down: 22 December 1910
Launched: 25 April 1911
Acquired: 27 May 1911
Maiden voyage: 31 May 1911
Notes: Sea trials 16 May 1911
Career (France) Civil and Naval Ensign of France.svg
Name: SS Nomadic
Operator: Compagnie Cherbourgeoise de Transbordement
Acquired: 1927
Out of service: 1969
Career (Irl)
Name: SS Nomadic
Operator: SS Nomadic Charitable Trust Ltd.
Acquired: 2006
In service: 2011 or 2012 - undecided
Status: Museum ship, Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Notes: Restoration level to be a 'cosmetic overhaul' only by anniversary of RMS Titanic
General characteristics
Tonnage: 1273 GT (gross tonnage)
Length: 220 ft (67 m)
Beam: 37 ft (11 m)
Draught: 8 ft (2.4 m)
Decks: 5
Installed power: 2 single ended scotch marine boilers
Propulsion: 2 double expansion engines powering 2 triple blade propellers.
Speed: 12 knots
Capacity: 1,000 passengers
Crew: 14

SS Nomadic is a steamship of the White Star Line, launched on 25 April 1911 in Belfast. She was built as a tender to the liners RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic, and is the last remaining vessel built for the White Star Line still afloat.


The keel of Nomadic was laid down in the Harland and Wolff shipyards, Belfast in 1910 (yard number 422). She was launched on 25 April 1911 and delivered to the White Star Line on the 27 May. The ship was 67 meters (220 ft) long and 11.3 meters (37 ft) wide, with a gross tonnage of 1,273 tons. She had two three-bladed screws, propelling her to a maximum speed of 12 knots.

With her sister ship SS Traffic, Nomadic was used as a tender for Titanic and Olympic at Cherbourg in France. Nomadic was fitted with a luxurious interior and was hence used for the first and second class passengers, while Traffic served the third class travellers.

During World War I Nomadic saw service in carrying American troops at Brest (France).

In 1927, she was sold to the Compagnie Cherbourgeoise de Transbordement and then sold again to the Société Cherbourgeoise de Remorquage et de Sauvetage in 1934. Then under the name Ingenieur Minard, she again served as a troop ship in World War II.

After the war she continued tendering Cunard White Star (the two companies merged in 1934) ships until November 1968. She then served RMS Queen Elizabeth for the last time.

In 1974, Nomadic was bought by a private individual and converted into a restaurant on the Seine in Paris, where she remained docked and semi-derelict after the closure of the restaurant, until she was moved to the port of Le Havre in 2006.

Preservation of Nomadic

A public appeal for donations to return Nomadic to the Harland and Wolff shipyard for restoration was organised by Belfast Industrial Heritage (BIH), a non-profit organisation in Northern Ireland in collaboration with enthusiasts through the Appeal.

On 26 January 2006, SS Nomadic was purchased at auction in Paris by the Department for Social Development, part of the Northern Ireland Office.[1] She cost £171,320 (the reserve price being £165,000).

SS Nomadic left Le Havre to return to Belfast on 12 July, and arrived back close to where she was built on 18 July 2006. The vessel was welcomed back by the Social Development Minister David Hanson MP and the Deputy Lord Mayor of the City of Belfast, Councillor Ruth Patterson and a number of well wishers. The Nomadic arrived "piggy backed" on a marine transportation barge, which had been contracted from Anchor Marine Transportation Limited.[2]

A study by Belfast City Council has estimated the cost of restoring Nomadic at £7 million. Belfast Harbour Commissioners have agreed to provide a temporary berth for the ship, and a charitable trust to co-ordinate fundraising for the restoration has been set up[3]. Now that the vessel is on the United Kingdom's National Historic Fleet, Core Collection[4], the project should qualify for a National Lottery grant application, which should substantially enhance existing funds of £60,000 from a public appeal and £100,000 from Belfast City Council.

The Nomadic Appeal Public Website has now founded the Nomadic Preservation Society.[5]


SS Nomadic welcomed back to Belfast.

On her return to Belfast, SS Nomadic was moored at Queen's Quay just outside the Odyssey Arena in Belfast and opened with a temporary exhibition. In late 2008 the ship was closed to the public and moved to Barnett's Dock for internal maintenance. It is expected she will soon enter Hamilton Graving Dock for drydocking and complete restoration.[6][7]

In January 2009, the company Frazer-Nash has been appointed to manage the Conservation Management Plan. The level of restoration will then be decided.

In July 2009 auditors expressed concern that the £7m refit of the derelict SS Nomadic may not be completed for the centenary of its launch in Belfast.

A recent £2.27m EU grant means it will now meet the 2011 completion deadline.


Further reading

  • Vanhoutte, Fabrice and Melia, Philippe (2004). Le S/S Nomadic: Petit frère du Titanic. Cherbourg: Editions Isoète. ISBN 2-913-920-39-X
  • Pritchard, Mervyn (2008). The Belfast Child: S.S. Nomadic, Exploring the World's Last Great Link to R.M.S. Titanic. Belfast: Queen's Island Press. ISBN 0955931401

External links

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[[Commons: Category:SS Nomadic

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